The Contrast Effect: Hurting Attraction

The Contrast Effect: Hurting Attraction The internet has been great for many things: temple work, instant and convenient communications around the world, instantaneous access to information on most any subject, automation for businesses, and so many other things. However, the
internet has also resulted in a number of new technology based problems. One notable problem primarily resulting from the internet and technology is called “the contrast effect”. Basically the relational “contrast effect” is a numbing effect where the most often we see and encounter idealized, attractive images of the opposite sex, the more desensitized we can become to the looks of others. The effect is that normally attractive members of the opposite sex can seem less attractive by comparison. And when this occurs, it can be difficult to ever be consistently attracted to most members of the opposite sex initially and over time.

Sources of the contrast effect:

There are many ways the contrast effect can in a person’s life. Here are some ways you might become overly saturated by the sight of idealized images of the opposite sex:

*Social Media: as social media becomes a bigger part of so many people’s lives, the types of images on this online resource are seen more and more. So much of social media involves selfies and other pictures showing others in attractive, impressive, ideal ways. A double effect of social media: not only can it create a contrast effect with the opposite sex, it can also add to body image issues and body dysmorphia through comparisons to idealized images of the same sex. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, Snapchat, You Tube…so many social media outlets with new options appearing all the time.

*Pornography: an obvious source of the contrast effect involves seeing attractive members of the opposite sex with few or no clothes on across the internet. In previous times, pornography was something that had to be peeked at on VHS cassettes, cable channels, or magazines often hidden under bed mattresses. Now such images and videos are available on any search engine on phones, tablets, and computers for free with a few key strokes. This free and convenient access has multiplied the ease and repetition people can find and focus on such materials and makes this image source a real challenge to not indulge in.

*Non-technological access: some people work or go to college classes where they regularly exist around many other often attractive members of the opposite sex. College classrooms and certain professions can place a person in such environments. Before technology, this was most all of what may have made for contrast and temptation. However now through the internet of the 2000s through now, seeing attractive humans in real life is only one of numerous ways to see idyllic looking members of the opposite sex.

Suggestions to battle the contrast effect:

To limit social media usage and to cut out pornography viewing, there are many ideas and suggestions for this that are beyond the scope of this article. However, a good place to start is hypnosis. Here are two sessions you can download and listen to as tools to help you gain control of these two technology-connected forms of voyeurism. Here are 2 sessions are from

In addition, just be aware. Aware that there is a need to moderate and limit your social media usage and to cut out any use of pornography. And to remember that overexposure to such things has negative effects on you included harm to your future dating and relationship prospects. Because if few people will look good enough for you, your odds and chances to find an acceptable person go down if you price yourself out of the market with excessive and/or unsustainable expectations. Grass is greener and fear of missing out (FOMO) become bigger problems when whomever you are with when they can’t compete against the regular perfection you are exposed to online.

Final Thoughts:
Future ideas to better control or cut out social media and pornography can be discussed in future articles. For the purposes of this article, the goal is mainly to help you understand the contrast effect, where it comes from, and some ideas to start working on lessening and controlling this concerning issue. As you do you will be better able to be attracted to what you would normally be attracted to without any numbing of your natural feelings and senses. The fate of future relationships may hinge in part with controlling this modern challenge. Technology isn’t going away, but our ability to be more careful and in control of it is possible. I encourage you to do so for your present and future relationship happiness and success. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:1.

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2022-11-06 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Communication

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to